Double premiere! Psych! So everyone knows how this episode is going to end just from the title, right?Â Right?
It's takeout night again, with the usual nonsensical hypotheses being discussed. Penny and Bernadette are finding friction over Penny's new job, as Bernadette feels that she isn't preparing enough for this brand-new role. Penny insists that she doesn't want to be some kind of teacher's pet, and is uncharacteristically backed up by the entire group. Opening credits.
Sheldon goes to see Mrs. Davis (Regina King), most famous for being the head of HR and a perpetual victim of Sheldon's thoughtless racism. She grits her teeth and offers him a solution to the string theory problem - they'll promote Sheldon to junior professor, pay him a lot more, and expect him to teach a few classes while he researches whatever he wants. Naturally, Sheldon is tempted to turn tail and run all over again.
Penny shows up for a girls' lunch with Amy. Bernadette is pointedly not invited, mostly due to the job friction. Amy is concerned that they might be bullying her. However, she's soon dissing her with gusto. At his own lunch, Sheldon tells them all about the plan, which he categorizes as "babysitting" and not worth his time. His friends assure him that he has all the most irksome qualities of a good teacher. After some thought, Sheldon decides he might as well give it a try.
Meanwhile, Amy gets way too much pleasure out of stimulating a starfish. Via Skype, Bernadette invites her for a Penny-free dinner. The treacherous neuroscientist immediately agrees, throwing some insults at her bestie just for the hell of it. What, did Penny praise Frozen in her presence or something?
The guys show up to Sheldon's classroom to find the room empty. No one has signed up, mostly due to Sheldon's abrasive personality. To me, this doesn't ring true - most grad students I know would sign up with a chosen prof even if he murdered puppies in front of them. Howard kindly offers to sign up for the class just to keep it open, only to be met with a slight on his intellect. Sheldon pop quizzes him on the spot. Unexpectedly, he's pleased with the results, as Howard answers all the questions with Will Hunting-like precision. Sheldon still won't let him take the class, though. Howard throws him with a perfectly timedÂ dig at all physicists everywhere. Tell me, why is Jim Parsons the one with four Emmys again?
Amy recounts all her friend drama to Sheldon, comparing it to high school (which is a good thing, since she never had that experience in the first place). Her boyfriend doesn't pay attention, as he's busy designing a curriculum purely to trip Wolowitz up. Leonard correctly diagnoses that he's scared that Howard is smarter than he is. Sheldon does consider this - and comes to the conclusion that dosing Howard with peanuts might be a good thing.
Howard shows up for his first day of class, with the caveat that Sheldon must behave like a proper professor and not an intellectual steamroller. When Sheldon gets up to his old tricks, he retaliates by behaving like your classic terrible student, listening to music on headphones and launching spitballs. He actually does succeed in choking out Sheldon for a minute, hitting him right in the uvula. Let's call this round for Hooooowaaahhhhhd.
Amy calls Penny, inviting her out with a barrage of teenaged slang which must beÂ incrediblyÂ embarrassing for Mayim Bialik. However, Penny has decided to take Bernadette's advice and apply herself to the job. Furthermore, Bernadette is coming over to help her out. Now without friends to turn against each other, she calls Sheldon, but he's too busy disinfecting from the spitball.
Howard has dropped Sheldon's class, Sheldon has reported him to human resources, and the friendship appears to be over. To show Sheldon how shitty his teaching method was, Howard peppers him with unrelated questions. Sheldon answers all but one correctly, and also hacks up the spitball, to his eternal happiness. Over at Penny's, the new sales rep has studied like a keener for the first time in her life, and they decide to invite Amy out after all. Amy, eavesdropping at the door, is forced to run before her cell phone's ring tips them off.
Tag scene - The guys have turned their intellectual pissing contest with an Ultimate Science Trivia Game, competing for candy and other delicious prizes. They are each assured of their intellectual superiority, everyone is friends again, and thus our story has an happy ending.
So Sheldon has started his brief and disastrous educational career, while Penny is off to new drug-pushing horizons. Low on plot but offering some fun moments, the episode was a little uneven, especially compared to the first. The MVP was Simon Helberg, underrated and hilarious as usual. There's an argument to be made that Howard has grown the most of the original characters, and his actor has certainly reflected this. Mostly, I am interested to see what will develop as the season goes on. We're off to a promising start, folks - but can they keep it up?